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June 22, 2019

Lord, thank You for giving us not only Yourself as our Strong Tower and the angels who guard us so well--but also these pieces of Heavenly Armor. Please continue to teach us to be faithful in putting it on, and in learning the different ways they are to be best used. Amen.

We have so far looked at the Helmet of Salvation and the Breastplate of Being Right with God. The next three parts of our armor are: The Belt of Truth, The Shoes of Peace and the Shield of Faith.

When Clare once asked Jesus about the Belt of Truth, Jesus told her, "Action proceeds from the loins, but before you can move forward you must be in a state of readiness. 'Girding up your loins' was a way to tuck your garment out of the way so you wouldn't trip over it. But more importantly, the Belt of Truth has the function to carry the Sword of Truth. And without Truth, you will not win the ultimate battle. If Truth is not on your side, no matter how ready you think you are, you are only a reed swaying in the wind."

The major way a demon gains access to us is through deception. They LIE! We fall for it--and that opens the way for them to enter in. If they can't come in through a direct blow to the breastplate or helmet, they will try to sneak in with their lies if we are not firmly 'belted' with the Truth.

Jesus has taught us a few times about this area of the body, what we might call the gut.

In one message, Clare said: "I remember being called to the bedside of a woman who was passing, and I saw a brilliant, tunnel-like shaft of light, similar to an umbilical cord, stretching down from the heavens and resting on her stomach."

Jesus replied, "Yes, that's the tunnel. All believers are prepared to exit that way. And it is also the seat of the soul."

She answered Him, "But I thought You lived inside our hearts, Lord?"

"I do." He replied. "But the soul is the door leading out from the body. They are intimately connected, just as in anatomy the stomach and bowels are intimately connected with the heart. It is merely a general location, not cast in concrete. That's why you get a gut-level feeling about things; it is an interaction with the conscience, which resides in that general area, as well.

"Further, the brain cells in the stomach communicate with the mind through electronic impulses, which help a person determine their choices in life. Oh, the body is intimately and gloriously knit together, and is the crown of My creation!"

And then I thought, 'Brain cells in the stomach??' I believed Him--but I had to check that out!

And found this: A man volunteered for a scientific experiment. He said, "I had swallowed a miniature camera in the form of a pill that would spend the day traveling through my digestive system, projecting images onto a giant screen. Its first stop was my stomach, whose complex work is under the control of what's sometimes called "the little brain", a network of neurons that line your stomach and your gut. Surprisingly, there are over 100 million of these cells in your gut."

Wow! And then, lately Jesus told us even more about the stomach.

"You know that it is true that there are more brain cells in your stomach than in your brain? In other words, the gut is capable of seeing Truth more clearly than the mind. Also, the heart is nearby, and its influence is indelible, yet subtle, as wisdom is imparted to you. There are so many secrets of receiving from Me, I could never cover them all in one lifetime. Yet they are constantly at work in you, and that 'gut' feeling is a filter for them all.

"For instance, your right hand may understand something you do not understand---and as a result, direct the body according to that knowledge. In a perilous situation, your hand may lead your body to do something you could not have thought of or communicated to your body fast enough. So, your right hand, in a sense, takes over. And there are angels that at times will command your response, to deliver you from danger."

I know just what He's talking about here. When I'm driving in a car, when I had little children with me. If had to put the brakes on fast my right hand would fly out faster than I had time to even think about it! To keep them from moving forward.

He went back to the message, "Oh, Clare. The ways in which you receive understanding are beyond comprehension, and you do not have to know them. Trusting and acting from the heart is a sure way to do the right thing. 'Search me, O God, and see if there be any crooked way in me.' And when I search all the capacities within you to understand, they come to attention and respond to what I am looking at. Because your being is entirely dedicated to Me, every atom wants to comply with My perfect way of thinking, acting, and being.

"That is why, at times when I give you a word like 'Pride,' everything within your being stops to examine that dynamic within you. You feel it throughout your whole body. Your blood sugar drops, your breathing changes, your mind tenses up, your heart feels like it's dropping into your stomach---and your bowels also react.

"Oh, Clare, there are so many mysteries of the human body that no one understands. The inter-connectedness is astounding. (Infused Knowledge vs. Learning & Rapture of the Good--or the Bad?)

And then, we have to consider: where is a belt worn? Over our 'gut', our second brain! And also, one of the most sensitive parts of the body. We even talk about it this way:

"That was a low blow."

"Oh, that hit me below the belt!"

"That was a sucker punch!"

"I can feel it in my gut--this isn't going to work."

This matter of depending on 'our gut' when we are trying to discern something our brain is arguing with has been mentioned pretty often throughout the messages, too. This passage is from the message "They Will All Be Taught by God":

Clare started: Test the spirits and see if they be of God.

Okay, so how do we test them? Well, a lot has to do with listening very carefully to the attitude and the demeanor of what you're hearing. As I said, one sounds like we're talking to ourselves and sounding more regal and authoritative--like God. The second sounds very affectionate and reasonable and persuasive--that's the demon. The Lord also sounds affectionate and reasonable, but He's gentle and doesn't provoke us to judge others.

And let me tell you, the demons are really smart. They'll do that--they'll sound like the Lord and they won't provoke you to judge others. They'll make it a little harder for you to know. But there's that sweet space in your spirit, down in your gut, where you know that you know that you know it's the Lord.

Clare: We have a friend of the channel who has many spiritual gifts and often shares some of her truly amazing stories with us. We have even benefited many times from her prayers. When she recounts these amazing things to me, I think to myself, 'Gee, Lord, I'd love to do some of the things that she's doing!'

And as a result of that, one little spark, one little desire to be someone other than who God has made me, I can feel an assault on my gut. A churning of sorts and I soon realize it was a demon of jealousy trying to gain entry. I even told Ezekiel, my husband, "Honey, I feel like I'm being attacked." He replied, "I see a big, ugly, green frog-like demon called Jealousy, trying to gain entry into your soul."

Jesus said to her, "Cleave to Me, dear ones, and reject the setups and temptations the enemy has laid for you. Understand he is very subtle. Examine the fruits in the long run. Is there a temptation hidden there? Never over-estimate your strength in the face of temptation. If you are listening very carefully, you will hear My warning either in your head or in your gut. Pay attention to that, and stop it at the entrance, and it will not expand to produce rotten fruit in your hearts." (And that was the end of that message.)

So, when I'm putting on my armor, and I ask for the Belt of Truth--I want it to be WIDE and strong and securely fastened! It's wonderful to be able to use the Bible Promises, or a Bible or other tool to discern. But in those times when you are literally thrown into a situation, and you need to know what to do, paying attention to His warnings in your ears or your gut will be what brings you out still holding His hand.

The next part is the Sandals of Peace. I found a wise quote from a place called Grace to You. The pastor said quoted this Scripture:

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:19-20

And then he commented: "All we need is Christ, and we can stand against everything Satan has to bring. You go into the battle with Satan and if you're not sure where you stand with Christ, if you've got doubts, you're very vulnerable. You have nothing to fear. People have asked me that through the years. 'Don't you fear what the devil can do to you?' No, he said, because I know who is on my side and whose side I'm on. I have made peace with God. God is on my side with a full power that He brings to bear on behalf of His own defending us."

From what Jesus has told us, we know that most of the demons we come up against are really very small. And there is surely nothing to fear of them, because we know that Jesus is the Victor! And that Jesus, Himself, has a 'leash' on them. They are completely under His control as to what they can or can't do to us. They may use tools against us to make themselves seem large.

But I'll give you an account from one of the prayer warrior's experiences. She described her shoes this way: "The material is gray and very soft, but I have the sense it is impenetrable. It cannot be pierced. Nor can flame damage in any way. Poisons and acids can't eat through it. The bottom is a boot or shoe of gray material. I asked the Lord for something that was so strong, demons would not even want to approach it, let alone touch it, thereby keeping me safe from attack from below."

And so, when we are shod with His Words of Peace, we not only walk in it--we spread it to those around us, scattering the demons who would have us fall to their lies and temptations all the way.

And then finally, we take up the Shield of Faith.

Jesus told Clare in His teaching to us about the armor of God, "The Shield of Faith carries the emblem of the finished work of the Cross, where all your graces come forth. It is what you defend yourself with. Your faith in your citizenship and who your Sovereign is, that you are commissioned and in good standing, that all your actions proceed from truth and charity. That your feet carry the message of peace, forgiveness, and good will for all men. All must be defended by faith that each item of your armor is real and true--so true, you are willing to die for it, just as I did. With the Shield of Faith, you are protected from the fiery darts of the enemy, who desires to cut you off from Me and isolate you. He uses underhanded tactics, lies, half-truths--twisting and manipulating you until you fall for his lies."

Another source I found had this to say about the shield:

He said first: "The shield is the first line of defense. The shield was used by the Romans to ward off the opening barrage from the enemy. Using bows or catapults, the enemy would shoot flaming arrows, throw fireballs, fling rough metal darts covered in pitch and set on fire, all for the purpose of overwhelming the other side, to create chaos and confusion. The devil tries to do the same thing to us and the Church. Just look at the barrage of lies and attacks on the Church of Jesus Christ today."

Secondly, a shield guards. "Faith is based on indisputable truth and is real. The Bible says that ' is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' (Hebrews 11:1). Consider that "substance" is concrete, and "evidence" is solid proof. Therefore, faith is not an emotion based on feelings, but on reality."

Third, "a shield deflects & can incapacitate the enemy. The Roman shield was not the standard "medieval-esque" shield most picture in their minds upon hearing the word. It was instead a very large, slightly curved rectangular shield, featuring at its center a large metal knob (called a boss)."

"Faith in God and His promises causes Satan's "flaming arrows" to bounce off, not able to penetrate our mind and soul. Because of its slight curve, the shield was able to deflect attacks without transferring the full force of the assault to the man holding the shield. Because of its handle, it was able to deflect even the more vicious blows and function in a limited offensive capacity as a means of knocking an opponent backwards."

And finally, he said "There is strength in numbers of shields. The Roman military had an inventive and very effective tactic that made use of their large shields. When enemies would begin firing arrows and other projectiles at the army, the soldiers would close ranks into a rectangular array--called the testudo, or "tortoise," formation--and those on the outside would use their shields to create a wall around the perimeter. Then those in the middle would raise their shields over their heads to protect everyone from airborne missiles. The result was a formidable human tank that could be stopped only through a tremendous effort."

"Finally, let us consider these Scriptures of hope: It is our faith, not needs, that moves God."

Hebrews 11:6 teaches us that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

"Faith is taking God at His word and acting on it!"

"For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance" (Romans 8:24-25).

"Though it is based on solid evidence, that doesn't mean faith comes naturally or easily. Paul in these verses makes the obvious but necessary point: You don't hope for what you already have. Faith involves a huge element of trust. We must examine the evidence and see that God has proved Himself to be unchanging and consistent, and then we must firmly believe that He will fulfill His promises to us."

And then something interesting I wanted to add here about the Shield in my own life. For the longest time, when I would take the Shield of Faith from His hand. (I always see Him before me when I ask for my armor, with my guardian angel standing to His side, handing Him each piece as I ask for it.) As my Faith in Him grew stronger, no matter what came against me in the spirit in warfare, I would see that shield get just a little taller and taller.

One day, He told me to come look at the front of it--and I saw there these little postage-stamp sized pictures lined up along the face of the Shield. Starting way up at the top and moving side by side. 'Look closer' He told me--and as I did, I saw they were like snapshots of some of the battles I had just gone through! Like memorial stones fitted directly into the Shield itself.

And then yet another day, (I had been going through some pretty severe times of warfare) I so strongly just wanted to be encircled by this Faith! I asked Holy Spirit what to do? And He said, 'Watch and speak it out!'

And as I asked, the Shield fully encircled me and covered me over top--just like the 'turtle shell' formation of the Roman soldiers grouped together with their shields. I looked down then at my feet, and there beneath me was a smooth, solid Rock--a picture of Jesus. My Rock and Protector. Now when I call for the Shield, I ask it to encircle me completely. And I look down and see that Rock below my feet and know that my Savior upholds me, and my Faith in Him surrounds me. And if I start to get unsettled in warfare, all I have to do is look around at that Shield and know that He is covering me. And it is my faith in Him that will bring me through that battle.

The final two teachings of this series will be about the Swords He has given us. We have the Sword of the Spirit that comes along with the prayer in Scripture about it. But He's also given us a couple other swords, and He's given us some ways to join them together to yet make more. So, we'll get into that in the next two lessons.

We'll also have some life-examples gathered from our Prayer Team in their times of warfare. We are finding that as our Faith grows and we look always to Him and Holy Spirit for instruction and direction of what to do in warfare, these tools He has given us have some remarkable abilities to defeat the enemy!

May the Lord bless and keep you, Heartdwellers, as each day we put on our armor, and hold fast to the Shield of Faith!